Losing your head, literally, to help couples celebrate their love! Beheading is the price Valentine paid many centuries ago. According to legend, he was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II and his title as the champion of romantic love came as a result of his intervention when the Emperor, in a bid to recruit soldiers for his armies, suspended all weddings in the hope that the city’s single men would then volunteer. However, aware of the anguish suffered by couples who were in love but prevented from marrying, St Valentine defied Claudius and conducted wedding ceremonies in secret. Eventually caught, he was beheaded on 14 February 269 A.D. But his courage lives on and the date of his death remains a day when couples and love take centre stage.
In today’s world, Christmas is increasingly regarded as a secular event marked by red-suited Santas, lavish gifts and endless parties. Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday is another important feast day that the secular world has adopted and made its own. Instead of being seen the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, Mardi Gras is celebrated from Rio to New Orleans as well as on Oxford Street Sydney as a wild hedonistic carnival complete with outrageous costumes, decorated floats and masks.
The secularisation of St Valentine’s Day is no different.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the blatant commercialisation of St Valentine’s Day, Catholic couples have been urged to make the most of the day by making gestures of love and reaffirming their commitment to one another as well as to their marriage. Marriage encounter International celebrates World Marriage Day the 2nd Sunday in February
“As Christians we know the reason we desire to make a gift of ourselves and our love is because God made a visible gift of his own love in the person of Jesus Christ. To encounter love is to encounter God, so let us pray that through the intercession of St Valentine, all those who celebrate this day will be drawn that little bit closer into the mystery of God’s Love”